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22d. The Cathedral of Florence was undertaken in the year 1298, though not completed till about 1470. Its dome was the glory of Brunelleschi, and the object of Michael Angelo's unceasing admiration for even in death he desired that his ; bust on his tomb might be so placed as if he could still view that paragon of architectural skill which had emboldened him to execute that yet more stupendous monument the cupola of St. Peter's. Its length is about 420 feet by 360.
In 1439 was held within its sacred walls that venerable council of the Greek Emperor, and his Patriarchs, in union with the Roman Pontiff, and prelates, mutually agreeing on one holy, and indissoluble, faith; but the subjoined inscription then affixed in the church will best explain.
Sacrosancta Ecumenica decima septa synodus hac in Florentina Basilica celebrata, in quâ tam Græci quam Latini in unam eandemque veram fidem consensere, coram Eugenio IV. Universalis Ecclesiæ Pontifice, necnon Joanne Augusto, Græcorum Imperatore, Anno Domini, 1439.*
Ad perpetuam rei memoriam. Generali Concilio Florentie celebrato, post longas disputationes unio Grecorum facta est in hac ipsa Ecclesia die 6ta Julii, 1439; presidente eidem concilio Eugenio, Papa, cum Latinis Episcopis, et Prelatis, et Proceribus
* The seventeenth Holy Ecumenical Council has been celebrated in this cathedral of Florence, in which, both Greeks and Latins have united in one, the same, and true, Faith, in the presence of Eugene IV, Chief Bishop of the Universal Church, and of John Augustus, Emperor of the Greeks, A. D. 1439.
Grecorum in copioso numero; sublatisque erroribus in unam eandemque rectam fidem quam Romana tenet Ecclesia, consenserunt.*
In the cathedral is the portrait of Dante, already alluded to; and another, supposed of our countryman, Sir John Hawkwood, who died in the time of Richard II. As there are no chapels ranged along its naves to display sculpture, and the lighter beauties of architecture, this cathedral has a comparatively naked, and desolate effect; while the light that finds its way with difficulty through the dome is so scanty that the general darkness increases the sombre, and little inviting, appearance of the interior of this edifice, certainly far more promising, and splendid, in its exterior form, and case of black, and white, marble.
The Campanile is the handsomest building of the kind I have hitherto seen, being a quadrangular tower of the height of 280 feet, composed of, and wrought with, beautifully variegated marbles, among which red is the predominant colour.
* For an everlasting remembrance. At a General Council held at Florence, after long continued disputations, an union with the Greeks was effected in this church on July 6, 1439. President, Pope Eugene, in company with many Latin bishops and prelates, and Greek elders and rulers. Moreover, all errors being expunged, they have united in that one, the same, and the true, faith held by the Roman Catholic church.
Is the church united? All its professors, believers, and the right faith at length proved after 1800 years disputations?
Attached to the Baptistery, which is supposed to have been a temple of Mars, are three bronze doors, two of which are so exquisitely sculptured, that Michael Angelo is reported to have said they were worthy to be the gates of Paradise.
They were ordered in commemoration, and in gratitude for the cessation of the plague in 1400. That on the south is by Andrew Pisano, representing the history of St. John the Baptist; that on the north, the life of Jesus Christ; and that on the east, the incidents of the Old Testament, both the latter by Ghiberti. The flowers, and birds, sculptured by this artist pass all praise.
Two Porphyry Columns at these gates were the gift of the Pisans to the Florentines in 1117 for a military service against the Luccese :- yet, will it be believed, that over these doors, and from these columns, are suspended, in festoons, the chains of the harbour of Pisa, when taken by the Florentines in 1362.
24. I have this day seen Canova's Venus. During the interval in which the Medicean Goddess graced the Louvre, this next best occupied her pedestal in the Gallery of Florence. Now restored to the Grand Duke, she has a boudoir to herself in his palace, where her figure is reflected, and multiplied, in every aspect by the lofty glasses that line the room.
Were I asked my opinion, I should say that this
is the most perfect, exquisite, and finished, delineation of mortal, female, beauty that the chisel ever shaped. I have expressed the word "mortal" in contrast to the Grecian Venus, which I would say is the semblance of heavenly purity, as the modern Venus is of earthly perfection. In the one statue the artist has disdained drapery, his divinity needed it not, there is "Heaven in her eye;" for the other, the words of the poet are, perhaps, the most applicable description I can give.
"From her naked limbs of glowing white,
These lines are really appropriate, though I know not whether such was the idea of the sculptor, and I will only further add that, so exquisite is the beauty of this Nymph, that the imagination of the poet, bright as it is, might have kindled into a more fervent glow, had this Venus been his prototype.
26th Inst. MUSIC.-I have not hitherto spoken of music; and it may perhaps surprise those who, like myself, anticipated the delights of Italian strains to hear the declaration, that since I left Milan until my arrival here, all that I have heard, generally speaking, has been of the humblest kind.
To the opera, or Pergola, I have not been
from the indifferent report. I have heard of it, but I shall ever delight in the recollection of that minor theatre, the Cocomero, and of the pleasure there inspired by Rossini's music of the opera of Edward, and Christina, aided by the incomparable tenor voice of Tacchinardi, and the yet more attractive warblings, and exquisite intonation, of the Prima Donna, Emilia Bonnini, supported by an admirable orchestra, and a masterly leader. I have gone whenever I could, and whenever unavoidably absent, have felt all the languor of regret.
How melodious must be the voices of these two I have named, when it is known that all the rest are just proportionably indifferent; and that the chorusses are the most nasal, and discordant, noises ever heard.
The price of admission to the Italian theatres is so small that the talent engaged must bear a proportionate ratio; for the same reason an opera once produced is played every night, sometimes for months. Rossini is the favourite of the day, and he adapts his melodies, perhaps from his genius, perhaps from his policy, to the taste of the modern Italian audiences.
This Opera is one of the most expressive I ever listened to one might close the eye, yet divine the action by the melody. A Quintett in the first act is the most delicious concord of sweet sounds ever inhaled by mortal ears; and a Solo in the